Tags: Incentives & Rebates
Cultivating Customer Brand Advocacy
Brand advocates are customers, clients, and even employees who continue to support and champion a brand, going so far as to promote the brand to new and potential customers organically. Customer brand advocacy is a powerful tool in any company’s arsenal because it boosts customer retention and acquisition efforts alongside traditional marketing campaigns.
Studies show that 92% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations when shopping. People are more likely to believe their peers when considering a new brand over an ad executive because of a lack of inherent bias.
Customer brand advocacy is becoming increasingly more influential in the way customers make brand decisions. Those who are loyal to a brand and become brand advocates help bring in new customers and foster higher brand visibility organically while boosting that brand’s trustworthiness and sense of community. This in turn brings in even more customer brand advocates and boosts retention and acquisition efforts without the additional customer acquisition cost.
Considering the influx of Gen Z and Millennial consumers and the sheer amount of advertisements they see on a daily basis, it can be difficult to stand out without customer brand advocates.
But how do brands successfully cultivate loyal customer brand advocates?
Besides providing quality goods and/or services to your customers, there are a few ways to build brand advocacy and reach your brand’s customer retention and acquisition goals. Group O provides extensive rewards and incentives programs that are fully equipped to boost customer brand advocacy. In order for a brand to achieve long-term success it is worth considering implementing an incentive program that rewards loyal customers.
Leveraging Incentive Programs to Generate Brand Authority and Web Traffic
In order to foster brand advocacy in customers, organizations must first increase their brand authority. Brand authority describes how customers recognize and remember a brand. In other words, brand authority is the amount of familiarity a brand holds in the eyes of the public. The more familiar customers are with your brand (and the more positive your brand’s public perception is) the better.
High brand authority drives customer brand advocacy as it demonstrates to potential customers that a certain brand is trustworthy and produces quality goods or services at a higher rate than its competitors. Having high brand authority directly contributes to customer loyalty and customer brand advocacy as it helps position a brand as the “go-to” brand in its market.
In order to generate brand authority, many organizations are turning to incentive and reward programs. These programs are designed to reward customers who continue to shop and engage with a specific brand. Incentives show consumers that they are valued and cared for by the brands they trust most. Plus incentive programs drive more people to a brand’s website, boosting its web traffic (and increasing its authority). It’s a win-win for both brands and their customers or clients.
Incentive programs have countless benefits to customers and employees alike, especially in regards to generating brand authority and web traffic. Incentivising new customers with things like free branded merchandise or a percentage off their first purchase really goes a long way.
Other rewards and incentives like rewards cards or prepaid digital rewards cards also give potential customers a taste of what a brand has to offer and could lead to customer brand advocacy down the road.
Design, Implement, and Fulfill Incentive Programs with Help from Group O
Group O’s incentive management and marketing solutions are fully equipped to design, implement, and fulfill customizable incentive programs for your organization. Group O offers comprehensive program development and program implementation services that cover everything from customized designs to fit your incentive goals, to reward redemption, tracking, and fulfillment services for an excellent user experience.
At Group O, incentive programs are seamlessly managed all under one platform, making it easy for customers to redeem or track their rewards and easy for organizations to organize and maintain their incentives.
When it comes to leveraging an incentive program to generate brand authority and drive web traffic, the bottom line is this: the more an organization can direct customers and potential customers to their site, the more brand authority they will have, which in turn encourages brand advocacy among loyal customers.
Another way to drive customer brand advocacy is through the collection of user-generated content. User-generated content is content created by customers, not by the ad execs. Because people are more likely to buy from a brand that has been recommended to them by their peers and fellow customers, user-generated content is a great marketing tool. In fact, 79% of people report that user-generated content plays a huge role in their purchasing decisions. Clearly, user-generated content is here to stay.
To make the most of user-generated content collection organizations need to first identify what their customers and potential customers will respond to. Having a deep understanding of a customer base is essential for successful user-generated content collection.
For example, a younger customer base may be more likely to interact with brands on social media. In that case, social media campaigns or hashtag campaigns may make the most sense to generate content.
On the other hand, older consumers may be more inclined to submit online reviews or even testimonials. Reviews and testimonials offer insight into a brand from real customers. Positive reviews boost customer advocacy and reviews can be used in future marketing campaigns.
Other examples of user-generated content include:
Online Contests: People love opportunities to win big. Try implementing an online contest with the option for branded prizes for winners. Virtual contests are easy for all consumers to interact with no matter where they are located and virtual contests allow for organic promotions via contestants’ social media accounts. Have people send in their own videos or photos for a chance to win!
Play to win activities: Gamification is a powerful incentive tool. For in-person or virtual events, consider holding play to win activities that consumers enter and promote organically. Prizes could include free branded merchandise or rewards cards to boost brand authority.
Online reviews: Online reviews help other customers determine whether or not to interact with a brand or organization. Collecting positive reviews regarding your brand’s products, services, or overall customer experience can help prospective customers when making buying decisions.
Customer testimonials: Ask valued customers for testimonials describing their experience with your brand. Submissions can be shared and used in future marketing campaigns.
Give-aways: Customers love give-aways, especially if the prize is something experience based like a travel opportunity. While COVID travel restrictions continue to challenge the ways experience based incentives are fulfilled, they are worth considering as an incentive tool.
User-generated content is designed to generate engagement, spark loyalty, and provide social proof around a specific brand. Direct customer engagement through the collection of user-generated content also provides deeper insights into what customers are looking for in a brand. Collecting user-generated content through social media, email campaigns, or through other channels of communication also provides ample content to be used in future marketing campaigns.
Rewarding Customer Referrals – Refer a Friend Program
While companies are boosting customer brand advocacy and engaging with new or potential customers, it is vital that current customers’ loyalty does not get swept under the rug. Their dedication to the brand should be celebrated (and rewarded) through customer referral programs.
Rewarding things like customer referrals or developing refer-a-friend programs are important to the process of boosting customer brand advocacy. Rewards are great motivators for spreading the good word about any brand.
When it comes to referrals it is important to consider what customers want. This will be unique to each company but here are a few ideas to think about:
- Prepaid digital or paper rewards cards for X amount of referrals made
- Discounts for first time customers (a percentage off, free shipping, or dollar discounts)
- Referral bonuses for loyal brand advocates
- Free merchandise for X amount of referrals made (branded t-shirts, keychains, or other branded items)
- Customized rewards for both brand advocates and the customers they have recommended (it’s a win-win!)
- Experience based rewards like winning a trip or staying in a luxury hotel
Contact Group O for more information on how we can help turn your customers into loyal brand advocates today.
Referral programs make it easy for new customers to buy into a brand while also showing appreciation to a brand’s existing customers who are loyal brand advocates. Referral programs, when implemented strategically, drive sales, boost customer acquisition, and encourage customer retention.
While it is important to ensure rewards for referrals pack a punch, it is also worth thinking about customer user experience when it comes to those rewards. Make reward redemption easy to do for the best experience. Afterall, there is nothing worse than receiving a reward but having no way to access or use it. Group O offers O-vations™ as an incentive platform to monitor, track, and fulfill rewards as part of our incentive marketing solution services.
At the onset of developing your very own branded O-vations™ platform, an experienced Group O Program Manager is there to guide your company through every step. Group O’s Solution Delivery Methodology takes care of the launch and ongoing operations, ensuring an efficient and effective incentive program to drive customer brand advocacy over a long period of time.
Group O’s customer acquisition, retention, and recognition programs provide end-to-end design, management, and execution of:
- Loyalty and referral programs
- Channel incentives
- Rebate programs
- One-time recognition and rewards
All of which is maintained and organized under one platform for quality user experience.
Influencers and Brand Ambassadors
Due to the power of social media, we are all living in the world of the influencer. Love them or hate them, influencers are here to stay. And while the term “influencer” may conjure an image of a 20-something year old on Instagram hocking specialty teas or work-out programs to their millions of followers, influencers actually cover a wide-range of brands and organizations and can serve a variety of sales-boosting initiatives for organizations.
Brand ambassadors, or influencers, are consumers who love and advocate for a specific brand, usually through social media but also through marketing campaigns, word-of-mouth, or through other communication channels. The idea of using ambassadors or influencers is to cultivate brand loyalty among current and prospective customers by a fellow customer who has already bought into the organization. This often leads to a higher rate of brand authority and customer brand advocacy.
Both brand ambassadors and influencers are compensated for their work, given they produce results for the brand. People who are brand ambassadors or influencers may receive rewards like discounts, free branded merchandise, rewards cards, and other unique freebies for their contribution to their brand advocacy.
Brand ambassador and influencer programs work to deepen personal connections between a brand and its customers furthering the goal of customer brand advocacy: build and foster a loyal community around a certain brand.
Successful brand ambassadorship programs can lead to things like:
- Long-term partnerships
- A deeper sense of community within an organization
- Accurate customer feedback to help drive future marketing efforts
These things are important for brands to consider because cultivating a sense of community around a brand directly impacts the loyalty of its customers. When people can experience and communicate directly with brands (through influencers and ambassadors) the sense of community is heightened. The brand is no longer seen as an inaccessible entity because there is a face to attach to it. Personalization takes customer brand advocacy to a whole new level.
A Powerful Strategy
Customer brand advocacy is a powerful strategy to boost brand awareness organically. When used in conjunction with overt marketing campaigns, companies can see long term success in their customer acquisition and retention rates.
The goal of brand advocacy is to align customers with brands that matter most to them, empowering these customers every step of the way. Implementing a robust and fully customized consumer incentive and reward program encourages customer brand advocacy and fosters a deeper relationship between brands and their valued customers.
Managing customer brand advocacy strategies can be complex without the right tools. Group O offers incentive management solutions that are customizable to fit the needs of your organization. Using our O-Vations™ platform, which supports various types of reward programs, makes this process easy so you can focus on your brand and its advocates while we take care of the rest.